Castle Doctrine Legislation: Unintended Effects for Gun Ownership?

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Castle Doctrine Legislation: Unintended Effects for Gun Ownership?

Category: Defensive Gun Use, Firearm Policies, Stand Your Ground & Castle Doctrine, Suicide|Journal: Justice Policy Journal (full text)|Author: L Wallace|Year: 2014

Between 2000 and 2010, more than 20 states passed new or revised legislation referred to as the Castle Doctrine. These statutes provide citizens protection from criminal prosecution and civil liability in cases where an individual uses physical force to protect self or home. Advocated by the National Rifle Association, these statutes were intended to protect citizens using firearms as self-defense. Little research to date has examined their effects. This paper tests whether Castle Doctrine legislation affected gun ownership and acquisition, as approximated by the number of Federal background checks and the proportion of suicides attributable to firearms. Analyses treat both outcomes as time series spanning 2000-2010 with states as panels. Results indicate that Castle Doctrine legislation is associated with a long-term increase in the number of Federal background checks. Results for the proportion of suicides attributable to firearms are limited. Implications of these results and avenues for future research are discussed.

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